Eyewitness sees Wednesday night pursuit firsthand in Davenport

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 2:05 AM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - A Davenport man was on his way to drop his cousin off at home with some friends Wednesday night.

Justin Ringenoldus said, if it were another night, he could’ve been walking along Eastern Avenue where the car eventually crashed.

“We were still sitting down there on Elm Street, just watching it as it was happening,” Ringenoldus said. “[It] took a couple of seconds for us to process what was going on.”

As Ringenoldus and his friends approached the four-way on Eastern Avenue and Elm they waved another car along.

That’s when a 2002 Chevy Avalanche sped by, swerved past, lost control, and eventually rolled over about a block away.

According to Iowa State Patrol, the vehicle was being pursued by police. Alecia Garcia died at the scene. Meanwhile, Damonte Stewart was transported to Genesis East Hospital in “serious” condition. ISP has not released who was driving the pick-up truck.

Having been in a rollover crash just last year, Ringenoldus and his friends sprang into action, trying to help before officers backed them off the scene.

“Me and my buddy Caden, we start yanking on the door,” Ringenoldus said. “I didn’t get it open, but Caden did. At this point, this person was still in the car, at least moving. So he’s alive.”

Ringenoldus said he walks around that area frequently.

“I could have been dead on two separate occasions [Wednesday] night,” Ringenoldus said “Whether my driver would have pulled out and went to turn left here, or if I had been walking home on Eastern.”

While he understands Garcia and Stewart were actively avoiding police, Ringenoldus said he questions why the chase needed to be brought into a residential area

“I understand it was an evening night, but it’s still a school zone. But there’s houses all around, there’s children bound to be around,” Ringenoldus said. “I hope the dude is okay. He could have done something that wasn’t supposed to happen. Like I still hope he’s okay. It’s still life or death.”

ISP hasn’t released what caused the chase. According to Iowa Department of Public Safety protocol, officers must consider the seriousness of the offense, the area and the time of day, among eight other conditions before initiating a pursuit.